According to the Society of American Florists, there are almost 20,000 flower shops in the United States. From the small independent florist that specializes in trendy arrangements to the large, multi-location chain that delivers hundreds of bouquets a day, the competition can be fierce. Florists must find creative ways to promote their businesses and attract customers.
Advertising remains an effective way to reach potential customers. While large-scale ad campaigns may be out of your budget, advertising on local television, radio and cable stations can be affordable. Ask your sales representative about special sponsorship opportunities, or barter your services for free promotion. Many local television news shows use fresh flowers as set decorations, particularly during the holidays. Consider offering free arrangements in exchange for sponsorship credit on the broadcast. Display advertisements in small, locally-focused publications are also generally inexpensive, and can help you reach a broad segment of your community.
Join a floral organization. There are multiple associations for floral business operators on both the national and local levels. These organizations offer education and support for floral businesses, and most include directories and marketing materials for their members. By joining an organization, you can list your business in online directories, and you’ll have access to products such as website templates, catalog and brochure templates, and advertising scripts to help you grow your business.
Weddings bring big business for florists. According to the Bridal Association of America, couples spend an average of $2,000 or more on flowers for their weddings. It is the biggest single floral purchase of their lives. Tap into the lucrative wedding market by joining your local wedding association. Many associations publish wedding guides for local brides, and host large bridal fairs several times a year. You can also build your wedding business by developing relationships with wedding planners and events coordinators at popular wedding sites in your area.
According to the Society of American Florists, it is more important than ever for floral businesses to have an online presence. Your website should not only be a showcase for your work, but should also offer online ordering and information about your specials. Consider working with one of the major flower delivery companies. When you are an official florist with one of these firms, it will funnel orders to you from the corporate website.
Build Customer Loyalty
Build good word-of-mouth and customer loyalty. If you offer exceptional customer service, customers are likely to return to your business and recommend it to others. Consider offering customer loyalty discounts or coupons to encourage repeat business. Offer specials throughout the year, not just during the holidays.
An adjunct instructor at Central Maine Community College, Kristen Hamlin is also a freelance writer on topics including lifestyle, education, and business. She is the author of Graduate! Everything You Need to Succeed After College (Capital Books), and her work has appeared in Lewiston Auburn Magazine, Young Money, USA Today and a variety of online outlets. She has a B.A. in Communication from Stonehill College, and a Master of Liberal Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.